Region suffering from resource shortages

region suffering from resource shortages. The writer explores the region of Iraq and its current problems with water, food, power and other issues. The writer looks at the problems, the political and economic issues behind the problems and how the problem is affecting the society. The writer then defends the resource management decisions that are being proposed. There were four sources used to complete this paper.

In recent years the world has become painfully aware that it is running out of resources. Nations have begun to work together to preserve fuel, water, power, food and other needed sources for mankind’s survival. Different regions struggle with different issues. The middle east is well-known for its water and food problems and recently Iraq has moved to the forefront of publicity because of the war, but before the war began the nation was struggling with its resource needs. Today, the problems have intensified and while the nation works to rebuild it continues the programs that were in place to try and preserve and protect the resources the nation uses.

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Water is a resource that Iraq as well as the rest of the Middle East has been struggling with for many years. The desert conditions, and the continued droughts that are often experienced, work together to create water shortages on a regular basis.

The shortage of drinking water as well as water to be used for farming has concerned Iraqi experts for years. While there have been many suggestions including large elaborate pipe systems and cooling systems for the oceans the expense and the obstacles prevent such ideas from coming to fruition (Thick, 1995).

The region faces drought every four years. Farming, which greedily swallows at least 80% of the region’s water, is most affected. But the population doubles itself every 25 years or so and, as people move to the cities, their standards of living rise. Some cities are already on the edge: Taiz, in Yemen, has had piped water once every 21 days;

Amman, Jordan’s capital, rations its piped supplies, and unrationed drinking water from tankers costs more than the poor can pay (Thick, 1995).”

Without water, nothing can live. The ability to grow produce, raise meat, and live are inhibited. Because of the importance of water to mankind, the shortage of water in Iraq has been a political issue for the past few years. Politically Iraq has worked to bring water in using what resource it does have, oil as a bartering tool. Shifting water between the Middle Eastern nations is not uncommon as a means of survival and is often used as a political platform during times of crisis (Thick, 1995).

Another resource that is threatened in the region is electricity.

Electricity for Iraq has been an ongoing issue. There have been many political arguments between Iraq and the U.S. regarding what Iraq alleged was breached electricity contracts.

The contracts put on hold were for buying gas turbine units, steam turbine units and other electric equipment, said the official. He said that during the “U.S.-led aggression” in 1991, some 60-90% of Iraqi power stations were destroyed, with some still not being rehabilitated, and as a result electricity supply in the country is far from enough (Contracts, 1999). As severe winter approaches, Baghdad has been subjected to electricity failure twice every day and at least two hours each time, and power supply is even worse in other parts of the country. Under the oil-for-food deal, Iraq is allowed to sell limited amount of oil in every six months to buy food, medicine and infrastructure-related materials for its people (Contracts, 1999).”

In the past the nation has used its massive oil production abilities to barter for food, water, electricity and other needed resources. However, by using the oil to garner the ever increasing resource needs of its growing population the oil supply began to be depleted and the government has had to search for alternative methods to manage the resource use and needs of that nation.

One of the most pressing problems in the past few years, and has been exacerbated since the war is the issue of food.

Food delivered under the oil-for-food program is insufficient for Iraq’s 22 million people, the trade minister said.Millions of impoverished Iraqis live off government food rations consisting of basic items such as flour, sugar, rice, tea and legumes (Faleh, 1999). The rationing system was introduced shortly after the United Nations slapped sweeping economic sanctions on Iraq for its 1990 invasion of Kuwait. The sanctions were eased in 1996 when the United Nations allowed the government to export limited amounts of oil, now worth $5.2 billion every six months (Faleh, 1999), to pay for imports of food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies.”Since the implementation of the oil-for-food program three years ago, Iraq has been resorting to its national (food) reserves to meet the inadequacy of items contracted for under the program,” the agency quoted Saleh as saying. “Without our national reserves of food, the distribution of foodstuffs would not have been stable in the past three years (Faleh, 1999).”

The food, water and electricity issues in Iraq have created political and economic stress. The nation has had to develop contracts with outside countries and if those contracts have not been fulfilled or the Iraqi leaders believe they were not fulfilled the poltical tensions, already filled with stress become worse. The economic factors in the need and development of said resources is also a tense issue in the nation as the sanctions brought about by the United States in the early 1990’s threatened to destroy the nation from the inside out.

Currently the war is also contributing to the shortage of resources, but because of the war the United States as well as other nations have been working to improve the resource replenishment currently being experienced in Iraq. Food and water supplies have been brought in by truck and aircraft but it is a temporary solution to a long-term problem. The current solutions cannot sustain a long-term need of a nation and politicians are currently working to help bridge agreements between Iraq and other nations that can provide resources.

Economically it will be important for the future of the new Iraq to develop sources for the needed resources. In addition there is an oil production commodity that Iraq can use as a bargaining chip in exchange for those needed resources.


The political and economic future of the new Iraq will be heavily dependent on the ability to strengthen the resources the nation has at its disposal. With the new Iraq being built the resource question is a strong platform for those who want to have a hand in the restructuring of the nation. Oil is a commodity that the nation can use to bargain with for resources, and while it is a needed resource in other parts of the world it is not as useful as water, food, and electricity will be in Iraq. The government support of food and water programs will work as a temporary solution but for the new Iraq to truly become the independent nation it is aiming for it will be important to allow it to trade its oil resources for other needs. In addition the restructuring should include water distribution and food manufacturing as well.


Author not available, As thick as blood.(water supply in the Middle East). Vol. 337, The Economist, 12-23-1995, pp 53(3).

Author not available, U.S. BLOCKS ELECTRICITY CONTRACTS: IRAQ., Xinhua News Agency, 12-07-1999.

James Cox, Iraq’s economic problems have deep, tangled roots., USA Today, 11-11-2002, pp 03B.

WAIEL FALEH, Associated Press Writer, Iraq: Food Rations Are Insufficient., AP Online, 12-23-1999.

Author not available, ANNAN APPROVES IRAQ’S FOOD DISTRIBUTION PLAN., Xinhua News Agency, 05-30-1998.

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